Castleisland’s Pres Girls Win 18th National Basketball Title

The all conquering 'Pres Girls' with captain, Kayla O'Connor proudly holding the All-Ireland First Year A Schools' Cup after their great win at UL on bank holiday Monday.
The all conquering ‘Pres Girls’ with captain, Kayla O’Connor proudly holding the All-Ireland First Year A Schools’ Cup after their great win at UL on bank holiday Monday. Team members are from left: Brid Moriarty, Aine Sheehan, Orla O’Sullivan, Millie Luck, Marylin Cahill, Clodagh O’Connor, Gemma Kearney and Emma O’Regan.

A team from St. Joseph’s Presentation Girls’ Secondary School won the ‘First Years All-Ireland Basketball A Title’  at University of Limerick over the bank holiday weekend.
The girls were undefeated in the South West regional league and had also won the Coakley Cup in December 2014. However,  the competition was expected to be a lot stiffer in the national play-offs.
First up on Sunday in the round robin pool games were St Angela’s from Cork.  After a slow start they were defeated 43-26. The next game was a thriller against Ursuline Waterford and the girls were narrowly defeated 28-26. This loss seemed to give the Castleisland girls even more determination to succeed and Mercy Clontarf were beaten in the last pool game 43-18.
The top two from each pool qualified for the national quarter finals and the ‘Pres Girls’ were drawn to play Loreto Foxrock at 11am on the bank holiday Monday.
Foxrock were beaten 38-18 with all girls playing extremely well and the stage was set for a rematch against Ursuline Waterford in the national semi-final.
The girls knew that Waterford were good but also knew that they could play a lot better than they did in their narrow defeat on the previous day.  They set out in the first quarter to make amends.
With Millie Luck controlling affairs at point guard and Kayla O Connor and Emma O’Regan excelling, the team stormed into a 17-1 first quarter lead. A mini-revival by Waterford in the second quarter was ended when Clodagh O’Connor scored a mighty three pointer. Brid Moriarty, Áine Sheehan and Gemma Kearney all chipped in with some important scores to stretch the lead and the final score was 38-17 to the Islanders.
Meanwhile,  local rivals Presentation Tralee had easily made their way through the other side of the draw to make the National final an all Kerry affair.
After a slow start the Castleisland girls began to pull away in the second quarter and refused to give up the lead and won 40-12 at the end of a fantastic weekend of schools’ basketball.
The girls were very well backed up by a large group of supporters throughout the weekend. The win is testament to the hard work carried out in previous years by the excellent coaches in the local clubs and to the ability and skills of a great bunch of girls.
School coach, John Enright assured his players after the game that there is great potential in the team and that if they continued to work hard they could add to this great start to their time playing schools basketball.